This article gives general advice only. Always follow your car seat's manual for instructions on how to wash and dry your specific model.
Key things to remember:
- Always refer to your car seat manual on cleaning instructions.
- You may take a few pictures of the seat when removing the cover or harness, it will help when you put it all back together again.
- Always use mild detergent and avoid bleach and other harsh chemicals.
- Use only damp sponges or cloths, as anything abrasive such as steel wool will damage the seat.
1. Remove car seat
The first thing you’ll want to do is take the entire car seat out of the car. Make sure to detach any toys or accessories attached to the seat as well.
Great tip: Take a picture of the car seat fully assembled before disassembling it to clean (and then take a photo of each step of the disassembly). This will help you later when you need to reassemble the seat again.
2. Vacuum & clean up loose dirt and debris
Use a vacuum to clean up all the dust, dirt, food, and other debris, especially those lodged into the cracks of the seat. Get to the under part of the material by lifting it off the seat. You might want to ask a family member to help you hold up certain parts of the fabric so you can get to the hard-to-reach places.
3. Remove the fabric cover and harness
Refer to your car seat manual to check if the harness straps and fabric cover can be removed. If they can be removed, remove the car seat cover and harness.
4. Clean the fabric cover
Refer to your car seat manual to check if the fabric cover can be machine-washed or hand-washed, otherwise, leave it alone and spot clean instead.
Mild detergents are typically recommended (DO NOT use bleach) and you should follow the temperature guidelines to avoid damaging the fabric.
Depending on what your manual says, leave them to air dry, or machine dry it.
5. Clean the harnesses and straps
Wipe the harnesses and straps using a soft cloth and warm water. Use soap only if needed, but never harsh chemicals or cleaning sprays. Lightly rinse and air-dry
NEVER put them in the washing machine, nor submerge them in water. This might stretch out the fabric webbing and render the harness unsafe in a crash.
6. Clean buckles
It's usually best to spot clean buckles with warm water.
7. Clean the frame
Wipe down with a damp cloth, mild soap and water. Remove any soap residue with a clean, damp cloth.
8. Reassemble the car seat
Once everything is clean and dry, you can start putting it back together. Refer to any photos you took as well as the instruction manual.
Always make sure that the seat is correctly re-installed. Reassembling the seat correctly is vital, as any errors could affect how well it protects your child.